CVS and Walgreens to Start Selling Abortion Pills This Month

Mifepristone will only be available in a handful of states where abortion is legal and will not be available for online purchase

<p>Getty</p> pharmacist assisting a customer -- stock image


pharmacist assisting a customer -- stock image

CVS and Walgreens will begin selling the abortion pill mifepristone in the coming weeks.

The decision was announced on Friday by spokespersons for both drug store chains following the Food and Drug Administration's decision to allow the medication to be offered at retail pharmacies, which was previously finalized in January 2023.

Related: As Roe vs. Wade Is Struck Down, These Real Women's Stories of Accessing Abortion Are More Powerful Than Ever

However, at this time, the pills will only be available in a handful of states where abortion is legal. CVS and Walgreens will not make mifepristone available by mail, though this could change at a later date.

Getty Images; David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock CVS, Walgreens
Getty Images; David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock CVS, Walgreens

As Walgreens has completed the FDA certification process to dispense mifepristone, the company plans to begin distributing it within a week in select locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Illinois, Fraser Engerman, a spokesman for the company, told The New York Times.

“We are beginning a phased rollout in select locations to allow us to ensure quality, safety, and privacy for our patients, providers, and team members,” Walgreens said in a statement. The company's goal "is to gradually expand availability to locations in all legally permissible states in a phased approach."

Related: Texas Woman Nearly Loses Her Life After Doctors Can't Legally Perform an Abortion: 'Their Hands Were Tied'

Engerman told The New York Times that Walgreens was “not going to dispense in states where the laws are unclear” to protect its pharmacists and staff members.

Amy Thibault, a spokeswoman for CVS, also told The New York Times that CVS will begin dispensing in all of its pharmacies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island “in the weeks ahead.”

For now, CVS is “working with manufacturers and suppliers to secure the medication and are not yet dispensing it” in any of their pharmacies, reports NBC News.

ELISA WELLS/PLAN C/AFP via Getty mifepristone (L) and misoprostol tablets
ELISA WELLS/PLAN C/AFP via Getty mifepristone (L) and misoprostol tablets

Both companies are monitoring legislation in Kansas, Montana, Wyoming and other states for possible distribution at a later date, reports The New York Times.

In a statement shared by the White House on Friday, President Joe Biden praised the update, calling it “an important milestone.”

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“Many women will soon have the option to pick up their prescription at a local, certified pharmacy — just as they would for any other medication,” Biden, 81, said, encouraging “all pharmacies” to seek certification if they are interested in dispensing the abortion pill.

He continued, “The stakes could not be higher for women across America. In the face of relentless attacks on reproductive freedom by Republican elected officials, Vice President Harris and I will continue to fight to ensure that women can get the health care they need, to defend the Food and Drug Administration’s independent and evidence-based approval and regulation of mifepristone, and to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law.”

In January 2023, a spokesperson for Walgreens told CBS News, "We are working through the registration, necessary training of our pharmacists, as well as evaluating our pharmacy network in terms of where we normally dispense products that have extra FDA requirements and will dispense these consistent with federal and state laws.”

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